4 Best Sights in Gleann Cholm Cille (Glencolumbkille), The Northwest

Glencolmcille Folk Village Museum

Walk through the beachfront Folk Village Museum to explore rural life. This clachan, or tiny village, comprises eight cottages, all of which are whitewashed, thatch-roofed, and extremely modest in appearance. Three showcase particular years in Irish culture: 1720, 1820, and 1920; pride of place goes to the 1881 schoolhouse and the re-created shebeen (pub). You'll also find an interpretive center, tea shop, regular demonstrations of hand weaving (there is a newly installed working loom), and crafts shop selling local handmade products. Three small cottages, with bare-earth floors, represent the basic living conditions over three centuries. The signposted circular nature and history trail is a tranquil and reflective place that includes a sweathouse (early Irish sauna), replica lime kilns, and mass rocks. Standing in the car park at 15 feet tall is a unique stone map of Ireland, Clocha na hEireann, which is made up of a stone from all 32 counties. It was erected in 2016 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising in 1916.

Glencolumbkille, Ireland
Sights Details
Rate Includes: €6, Closed Nov.--Easter

Oideas Gael: Sport & Culture

If you fancy expanding your mind and horizons, both from a sporting and cultural point of view, then Oideas Gael has an excellent selection of courses—both weekend and weeklong—for the culturally curious holidaymaker. Since it was formed in 1984, Oideas Gael has run acclaimed Irish-language classes, as well as programs on hill walking, archaeology, landscape, and the environment. Other activities include painting, traditional music, playing the harp---and even tapestry hand weaving—one of Donegal's renowned crafts. The courses, which attract thousands of participants from all over the world, run from March to October. Accommodations are based in self-catering hostels or with local families. For a rundown on the schedule and prices, check the website.

Silver Strand Beach

An Trá Bhán lives up to its name: it's a beautifully enclosed small silvery-white sandy beach, quiet and hidden from view and visitor traffic. Peaceful solitude is the name of the game here, but if your hair is standing on end it's because you're being watched; there are a few peeping sheep on the surrounding hillsides. Amenities: parking (no fee). Best for: swimming; walking.

When you've had your fill of sand and serenity, explore the ruined promontory fort, Dun Allt, directly above the beach. It was built around 300 BC, and archaeologists believe it was used as a defensive fortification when the community was in danger of attack.

Gleann Cholm Cille, Glencolumbkille, Ireland

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Turas Cholmcille

Atop the cliff rising north of the village, the Turas Cholmcille pilgrimage takes place at midnight on June 9 each year, traditionally in bare feet. The three-hour route consists of stone cross pillars, natural features, and megalithic tombs, associated with St. Columba. Details on the mysterious stone cairns and pillars are available in the Glencolmcille Folk Village museum.